The Book of Qualities Quotes

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The Book of Qualities The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler
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The Book of Qualities Quotes (showing 1-8 of 8)
“Sensuality does not wear a watch but she always gets to the essential places on time. She is adventurous and not particularly quiet. She was reprimanded in grade school because she couldn’t sit still all day long. She needs to move. She thinks with her body. Even when she goes to the library to read Emily Dickinson or Emily Bronte, she starts reading out loud and swaying with the words, and before she can figure out what is happening, she is asked to leave. As you might expect, she is a disaster at office jobs.

Sensuality has exquisite skin and she appreciates it in others as well. There are other people whose skin is soft and clear and healthy but something about Sensuality’s skin announces that she is alive. When the sun bursts forth in May, Sensuality likes to take off her shirt and feel the sweet warmth of the sun’s rays brush across her shoulder. This is not intended as a provocative gesture but other people are, as usual, upset. Sensuality does not understand why everyone else is so disturbed by her. As a young girl, she was often scolded for going barefoot.

Sensuality likes to make love at the border where time and space change places. When she is considering a potential lover, she takes him to the ocean and watches. Does he dance with the waves? Does he tell her about the time he slept on the beach when he was seventeen and woke up in the middle of the night to look at the moon? Does he laugh and cry and notice how big the sky is?

It is spring now, and Sensuality is very much in love these days. Her new friend is very sweet. Climbing into bed the first time, he confessed he was a little intimidated about making love with her. Sensuality just laughed and said, ‘But we’ve been making love for days.”
J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities
“‎Pleasure is wild and sweet. She likes purple flowers. She loves the sun and the wind and the night sky. She carries a silver bowl full of liquid moonlight. She has a cat named Midnight with stars on his paws. Many people mistrust Pleasure, and even more misunderstand her. For a long time I could barely stand to be in ...the same room with her...”
J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities
“I invited Intuition to stay in my house when my roommates went North. I warned her that I am territorial and I keep the herb jars in alphabetical order. Intuition confessed that she has a ‘spotty employment record.’ She was fired from her last job for daydreaming.

When Intuition moved in, she washed all the windows, cleaned out the fireplace, planted fruit trees, and lit purple candles. She doesn’t cook much. She eats beautiful foods, artichokes, avocadoes, persimmons and pomegranates, wild rice with wild mushrooms, chrysanthemum tea. She doesn’t have many possessions. Each thing is special. I wish you could see the way she arranged her treasures on the fireplace mantle. She has a splendid collection of cups, bowls, and baskets.
Well, the herbs are still in alphabetical order, and I can’t complain about how the house looks. Since Intuition moved in, my life has been turned inside out.”
J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities
“Anxiety is secretive. He does not trust anyone, not even his friends, Worry, Terror, Doubt and Panic … He likes to visit me late at night when I am alone and exhausted. I have never slept with him, but he kissed me on the forehead once, and I had a headache for two years …”
J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities
“Beauty is startling. She wears a gold shawl in the summer and sells seven kinds of honey at the flea market. She is young and old at once, my daughter and my grandmother. In school she excelled in mathematics and poetry. . . Beauty will dance with anyone who is brave enough to ask her.”
J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities
“Contentment has learned how to find out what she needs to know. Last year she went on a major housecleaning spree. First she stood on her head until all the extra facts fell out. Then she discarded about half her house. Now she knows where every thing comes from—who dyed the yarn dark green and who wove the rug and who built the loom, who made the willow chair, who planted the apricot trees. She made the turquoise mugs herself with clay she found in the hills beyond her house.

When Contentment is sad, she takes a mud bath or goes to the mountains until her lungs are clear. When she walks through an unfamiliar neighborhood, she always makes friends with the local cats.”
J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities
“Compassion speaks with a slight accent. She was a vulnerable child, miserable in school, cold, shy … In ninth grade she was befriended by Courage. Courage lent Compassion bright sweaters, explained the slang, showed her how to play volleyball.”
J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities
“Pain is subtle. He has cold grey fingers. His voice is horse from crying & screaming... When people try to avoid him, he follows them silently & turns upas the bartender, or the bus driver... Pain has an elaborate filing system for keeping track of everyone... Pain respects people who are willing to take risks. If you... face him directly, he will give you a special ointment so your wounds don't fester.”
J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities

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